The Night Manager recap: Episode 3
Pine quickly becomes a master spy... after stealing a child's cell phone
It’s funny. For a spy show, The Night Manager was noticeably short on snooping, swiping, and scanning in the first two episodes. But here, finally, in the third, Pine gets his espionage on.
Before getting into this recap, however, I’m desperately trying to find out what ZitterZatter is. It’s a new app that I saw Pine using on Danny’s phone, because of my constant fear of irrelevance, I need to get really good at it now. Is it like Snapchat, but, like, for spies?
Well, kinda. It turns out that ZitterZatter is just an encryption app that Burr supplies Pine with so that he can squirrel away information whenever he gets the chance. ZitterZatter is also totally fake, which is great news. I really don’t need another profile to worry about.
Back in Mallorca, Pine’s entry into the inner circles of Richard Roper’s empire is going surprisingly well. He’s mostly healed up. There’s some bruising, but that smile is still intact. Given the circumstances of Danny’s rescue, there’s are a fair amount of questions the men of the house have for Pine. What were you doing in that restaurant? What’s with all of the aliases? Weren’t you in Thor? Did you really kill a guy in Devon?
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Most of the questions come from one source: Lance Corkoran, Roper’s right hand man. Corky, as played by the always excellent Tom Hollander, is exactly the kind of guy you don’t want digging around in your past, especially if you have something to hide. Hollander imbues Corky with a low-key sadistic streak. Not only is he going to find out what Pine has to hide, it’ll make his week when he finds out. Within the Roper outfit, which is already a dangerous place to begin with, Corky is the man to avoid.
So Pine turns to Burr in hopes of easing the pressure… At least, I think that’s what he was asking for. There was a lot of talk about ice cream flavors, and I got distracted.
NEXT: Who killed the world?
Burr’s attack strategy is through Juan Apostol, or Apo, as he’s known among the group. Apo is having a crisis of faith, which ties into one of the bigger themes of this episode. The hour kicked off with Roper and Jed at a birthday party for Apo’s daughter, a young woman deeply troubled by her father’s illegal dealings and the lifestyle they have afforded her. Her suicide is just the first example of evil men destroying the women around them.
Another example comes as the Langbourne family reaches a breaking point. Caroline confides in Pine that her husband Sandy has been sleeping with the nanny. In light of the clichéd betrayal, she’s looking to hurt him any way she can. Caroline gives Pine the broad strokes on an upcoming arms deal — enough of a lead for him to start his own spying in earnest — and then she takes away the kids.
Jed’s struggle to hold onto some sense of responsibility for her son continues with another side phone in some state of undress. This time she’s naked on the bed — as Pine watches, no less — and asking whether her son received a sweater she sent.
Together, these three women form a clear indicator of these men’s toxic nature. The evil they spread isn’t abstract in its enormity or just about money. Their wrongdoing and the money it brings them has poisoned every aspect of their lives, and the women around them are simply the first victims.
This aspect of the story makes me doubly glad that Burr has become a woman for Olivia Colman to absolutely crush it as. There’s almost an aspect of gender revenge in Burr’s crusade to take down Roper and the disgusting men like him.
And this ties into one of le Carre’s larger running themes, that something about the nature of masculinity has manifested not only in the criminal outfits around the world, but also within our bureaucratic institutions. The fight over Operation Limpet, among Burr’s team, Riverhouse, and the CIA, is the other side of this coin. She is a powerful woman, running her own operation successfully. Of course, there needs to be a meeting about proper ownership.
The rest of British intelligence can shove it because Burr is taking down some bad guys, and the first of such men to take a hit is Lance Corkoran. Tipped off by Pine that Corky is after the missing years in his record, which would tie him back to Cairo and from there Freddie Hamid, Burr taps Apo for a small task. All he has to do is cast dispersion about Corky’s reliability. With a massive deal already in the works, this isn’t hard. Roper’s right hand man has been running his mouth about the upcoming sale, or so Apo says. This is more than enough for Roper to shift Corky to the fringes of the operation, eventually taking away a shell company and giving it to Pine.
Earlier in the episode, Roper asks Pine a question. “Do you even know who you are?” The inquiry stems from a false trail that was set up by Burr, but it also rings true for the real Pine. Not everything is fake. He is an orphan, a veteran, and a Brit who hasn’t seen much of the motherland lately. He’s always been on the move, and that is infinitely more complicated now that he’s living a lie almost 24/7.
When it comes time to make the tough decision — and based on those looks that Corky is giving Pine, that time is definitely coming — who will he decide to be?
The Night Manager